One of the most impactful elements of Child’s Play’s work in recent years has been our grants program. They allow us to help support dozens of non-profit organizations that help children and teens using therapeutic gaming, hugely increasing the reach and effectiveness of our mission. Going forward we are accepting Child Life Tech position and other industry-changing grants in Q1, the deadline being March 15th. These type of grants are our priority, and we think will have the greatest impact on our mission in the long run. We will then accept hospital and clinical equipment grants in Q2, deadline June 15th. Then in Q3, we will accept any grants that missed those deadlines, or any grants that don’t fit into those categories. With this plan, we also changed our one grant per organization per year policy to one grant application per quarterly grant period, with a maximum of two per year.
We’d like to share our 2018 grants with you, to demonstrate how much great work is made possible by your donations.
Game To Grow
Game To Grow shares with Child’s Play a belief that games of all kinds have the power to make a profound positive impact on people’s lives. They use tabletop games to teach young people to become more confident, creative and socially capable. Games like Dungeons & Dragons aren’t just a fun opportunity for players to use their imaginations, they can allow them to learn key social skills such as
- Taking the perspective of others
- Improving their tolerance for being frustrated
- Learning to creatively solve problems
- Communicating and collaborating with others
Tabletop gaming that allows young people to learn these skills without feeling like they’re being taught, providing both structured rules and unpredictable outcomes. The Game To Grow team is passionate about the difference that gaming can make, and we’re proud to facilitate that through our grants program.
Funding Tech Specialist Positions
We’ve spoken before about how much difference gaming and technology specialists can make to the lives of young people in hospitals, and this grant allowed us to fund even more of these specialist positions. Thanks to your donations, Technology Specialists are now being hired to the Child Life departments of:
- Golisano Children’s Hospital of SW Florida
- Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation
- Memorial Medical Center Foundation (Miller Children’s)
- Texas Children’s Hospital
- C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
If you’d like more information about Tech Specialist positions, you can check out this article and accompanying video about the work of the tech specialist at Children’s Hospital Colorado that was hired from our grant last year.
Funding a Medical Director of Child Life at Children’s Hospital Colorado
While the difference that a Child Life Professional can make is huge, they aren’t universally accessible to hospitals around the country, and many medical professionals are unaware of the benefits that a CCLP (Certified Child Life Professional) can provide. It’s crucial in coming years to advance the field of Child Life care by elevating the credibility and visibility of the field, with the aim of making CCLPs a standard part of the care in hospitals.
As one of the leading Child Life departments in the country, Children’s Hospital Colorado were perfectly positioned to partner with Child’s Play to create a unique role to help address these problems. This grant allowed them to hire a Medical Director of Child Life, who works closely with both the department and doctors of other relative disciplines on initiatives to help advance the field. The Medical Director can facilitate child-life research, identify and implement new technologies and lobby for new grants and funding on behalf of the Child Life department.
As well as these larger projects, we also offer numerous smaller grants for equipment purchases for hospitals and care facilities all across the country. We’ve offered 14 grants for new VR equipment, and 10 more for grants to buy items such as consoles, iPads and other devices that can make a stay in the hospital much more bearable.
One notable grant that we were able to provide this year was purchasing a set of MRI goggles for Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara. An MRI scan can take over an hour, which is an arduous experience even for adults. Since MRI machines are powerfully magnetic, traditional entertainment or distraction methods can’t be used. MRI goggles contain no magnetic metals at all, and can display movies or calming apps for patients undergoing an MRI. Due to the specific parts and engineering required, these are very expensive. It was only through your donations that this grant could happen, and young patients undergoing these scans are able to have some relief during the procedure.
All Of These Grants Are Thanks To You
We can’t say it often enough: these grants, and all the good that they do, are only possible thanks to your donations. Every child whose experience in hospital is a little easier thanks to a toy, game, VR headset or the care of a CCLP has you to thank.
Back on February 10th the Wellington Children’s Hospital came to the attention of the gaming community after it was reported the only PS4 in the children’s cancer ward was stolen. It didn’t take long for our inboxes at Child’s Play to be overflowing with emails asking how to make this right.
After reading more on Angus Little’s Facebook page we learned that the local community quickly stepped in and got a new PS4 installed we shifted our focus to how the Child’s Play community could have the biggest impact on this hospital. The international date line made connecting with the hospital Play Therapy (Child Life) department and the Wellingtons Hospitals Foundation (WHF) a little difficult. By the following Monday morning, we were able to speak to Shona Brunton, Grants & Major Partnerships Manager for the foundation.
When she and I talked Monday morning she was still unaware how far the stolen PS4 story and the link to the Wellington Hospital Fund had gone around the globe and the outraged cry of support from the gaming community. Shona was overwhelmed by the number of international donations to WHF that had come in over the weekend. Shona shared some information about the hospital with me as we talked:
- Wellington Children’s Hospital was the very first Children’s Hospital in New Zealand opening on 13 March 1912
- Each year Wellington Children’s Hospital cares for thousands of young people aged from birth to 16 years.
- 6,702 sick children admitted to the Wards 27,676 visits to “Paediatric Outpatients”
- 10,253 visits to the Emergency Department
- 3,740 babies born
- 853 neonatal babies (from the region)
- 12,026 x-rays of young people
- 693 children seen by the Child Development Service
- 2,986 audiology visits
- 1,815 operations performed on sick children
- There are only two part-time Play Therapist for the 2 Children’s Wards
It was clear the passion and love Shona, and everyone at Wellington Children’s Hospital had for the children who are treated at the hospital. After talking about the work that the Play Therapy team does for the Hospital, I informed Shona that Child’s Play, with the help of our community, would make a $10,000 donation to the Play Therapy department. This donation was to be on top of the annual budget for Play Therapy ($20,000 NZD) and should be used to outfit the playrooms and teen room, and anything else the Play Therapy department deemed necessary.
Tuesday morning I was greeted with an email in my inbox from Shona that said, “We are extremely grateful for the generous donation of USD$10K which resulted in NZD$13,553.00 being credited to the Foundations account last night. In terms of your request, we confirm this will be ‘tagged’ for Play Specialist funding within Wellington Children’s Hospital. The response to this media article has been overwhelming & it was interesting to see the interest from the US, Canada & beyond.
Once again, please pass on out thanks to all involved in agreeing to make this amazing donation.”
That is what I am doing here, we try to stay humble about our work at Child’s Play but the resolution of this tragic event warrants some bragging, not on our part, but on yours. The Child’s Play community came together and sent a lot of love to this hospital and your generous donations of time and money allowed us to gift the funds that will change the experience of all the children in the Wellington Children’s Hospital, today and for years to come.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. We cannot say it enough, thank you.
As we kick off 2015 with big plans and enthusiasm, we wanted to take time to reflect and share our gratitude for the incredible year that was 2014 thanks to the Child’s Play community. Our beneficiary network saw unprecedented growth, we had amazing participation in community events, and gamers came together to raise more than ever before.
We’re happy to announce that in 2014, the Child’s Play community raised $8.43 million for children in our network of hospitals and domestic violence shelters worldwide.
What a fantastic achievement - another year of breaking our previous record by over a million dollars and ensuring that kids around the world will have their tough time made a little brighter by the presence of games and toys donated by you, the amazing game community. That brings our lifetime total to a stunning $33.6 million dollars since our founding in 2004. I don’t think that anyone could have imagined a toy drive for Seattle Children’s Hospital would have ever grown to this, but we are so glad and grateful that it has.
It wouldn’t be possible without the support of the video game industry and community. We have an incredible group of corporate sponsors, which you can see below this post, to whom we are deeply grateful. We also wouldn’t be here without each and every individual donor: whether you chipped in a few dollars through a Humble Bundle, purchased something off of an Amazon Wishlist, or sent a direct donation, every bit adds up to our awe-inspiring, record-breaking total year after year. It’s because of the grassroots generosity and the kindness of an entire community that we’re able to help such a huge network of kids who really need it.
Speaking of which, that network was able to grow leaps and bounds thanks to your support this year. We added over one hundred facilities from 2013: we now have 112 hospitals and 110 shelters in our network, which is simply amazing. Hundreds of thousands of lives are being touched by the gifts that you give, and we cannot thank you enough for the kindness and generosity you show as gamers and people. Thank you for such a monumental 2014, and here’s to a fantastic 2015!